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Confessions of a Work-aholic

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It’s Tuesday morning 1:44am. I am lying awake thinking of the myriads of things that I need to do over the coming hours, days, weeks and months. I’ve worked long days the past few days. I won’t tell you how long as typically the response is not so favourable.

I work too many hours. I understand this. On one level at least. the past few nights I have found myself turning off the computer at 2 or 3am. I was just so into what I was doing that I didn’t realize how late it was. Of course, as soon as I noticed the time I realized how exhausted I was.

It’s been awhile since I have written on here, so let me take a moment to catch you up to date on my life. In a week, we launch a youth mentorship program for ages 13-18. As of 5 days ago, I hadn’t received any applications and I felt both the panic and pressure of having no one registered. My week became about doing absolutely everything I could to get the numbers up, often crying out to God asking why the heck this is so difficult.

Difficult. That’s a word I keep coming to. Truly, I love the work I am doing. But it is hard. I recently told some friends that I feel like I jumped into the deep end without knowing how to swim and I’m just figuring it out as I go. Sure, I have skills and I have done this before. And creative bursts of energy as well as networking skills have been at their finest these past few months. But website design, grant writing, fundraising, publicity – these things are new to me. And while I have many who are lifting me up in prayer and encouragement, I have often found myself feeling alone – much like the picture of the flower, struggling to grow and thrive in a territory where one is alone. It has not been an easy journey. But it has been rewarding in many ways.

But the work is plenty, the workers are few. It is so plentiful that I could work round the clock and never be done. and so I do – literally. I take naps when I can, work until the wee hours of the morning, wake early and hit the ground running the next day. Just one more thing, and then I’ll be done for the night. And then hours later, I’m still fiddling with things that need to be done.

Awhile ago I looked at my summer calendar realizing that if I didn’t carve out a day when I could rest and not work, I would struggle throughout the summer. Working Sunday to Friday leaves open only one day – Saturday. At the end of a crazy and intense week, I was looking forward to staying in my PJs all day Saturday and resting and doing nothing.

And then I opened up my laptop. Got thinking about the program’s website. the lack of registrations. the learning modules I have to prepare. the staff training meetings. the budget that needs to be revised. the emails that need to be returned (if you are reading this and haven’t received a response, I’m terribly sorry – I’m not keeping up with email that well lately).

And then I started to work.

And work.

And work.

At 2 am Sunday morning I realized that I needed to hit the sack as I had to work the next morning. And then it hit me – I hadn’t thought of Sunday school. Now lately there haven’t been kids. But the rule of thumb that seems to be accurate in this ministry is that if I prepare lots, no one will come… if I don’t prepare… everyone will, including visitors. Feeling completely exhausted I knew I had to go to sleep. I asked my facebook network for help.

Got to work tired and there were no kids. But my day’s work had only begun. it was a long, long day. with some good moments splashed into it. But the lack of sleep did not make its length easy. But when I came home, my mind quickly turned to the work that needed to be done.

Next thing I knew, it was 3am Monday.

I am tired. I am grumpy.

But it is my own fault. I am a work-a-holic.

I need Sabbath. I need rest. I’ve done enough research, writing and talking about these things. I worry about others who have too much on their plate… focusing on the speck in their eye and ignoring the log on my own. I joke when others question how many hours I am putting into this and say “Well, I’m crazy, what can I say?”

Someone reminded me today that I need to take Sabbath whether the work is done. And that everything will not fall apart just because I take a day off. I think he hit the nail on the head.

Trust.

I work because I think it depends on me. I work because if I don’t, no one else will. I work because if I don’t, the project will fail.

I work, because I don’t trust that ultimately God is in control. I work because I somehow think that taking time to rest and play and be restored seems foolish – and amidst the distrust there is a certain arrogance that places me at the center of all that is happening… as if what i do (or don’t do) could usurp God Almighty’s plan.

I am a work-a-holic.

I need to let go of my work.

And trust God.

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  1. Barbara Sanjivi
    June 25, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    No need to say any more. By the bottom of the article you figured it out. You have done the work but trust in God is an important part of what you are doing. I relate because this was always my problem, feeling like it was ALL up to me. Give God a chance. If you don’t rest, what you are afraid will happen, will. If you don’t rest you will fall part and nothing will get done. God has given you a job but as the Bible tells us, we need a day of rest. Good luck and God bless what you are doing. It will work out.

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